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Credit advice dished out at breakfast

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POSTED: April 26, 2007 5:02 a.m.
The Long County Chamber of Commerce met for its Progress through People breakfast March 20 at the Ludowici Church of God.
Guest speaker Marky Waters, vice president of the Ludowici Bank, talked about the importance of having good credit.
The chamber meets twice a year having a breakfast and dinner outreach.
 “We try to bring in as many people in the community to the breakfast and the dinner, to promote fellowship and unity in the community,” Chamber President Beverly Johnson said. “It is a good opportunity to recruit new members, but more important, everyone has a good time.”
Before Waters gave his presentation, Board of Education Chairman Dempsey Golden spoke on the positive impact the ESPLOST has in the county, and county code enforcement officer John Bradley said there had been 1,200 home lots approved in the county in 2006. Bradley also said it was anticipated that another 1,500 would be approved in 2007.
Sheriff Cecil Nobles introduced Waters and jokingly told the crowd, “That even though Marky isn’t from Long County, he did have to come to Ludowici to get a good wife.”
Waters spoke of the growth in the county and how it could be deceptive from onlookers due to so much of it being spread throughout the county. To give the crowd an idea of how much growth had taken place, he said the assets of his bank had doubled over the last year.
Waters told the group that in the past, loans were primarily approved by lenders knowing the applicants and by personally calling references, but today a credit rating can be obtained in minutes, and it has the most impact on credit being approved or declined.  
As a rule of thumb, he said most banks look for an applicant to have at least a Beacon Score of 600, and mortgage companies want it to be in the area of 650.
Waters also advised people to personally check their credit score at least once a year.
“Manage your credit like you do all the things in your life which you feel are important,” he said.
One area that he specifically advised the crowd to be aware of today is the possibility of identity theft.
“I know with most of you, when I talk about maintaining good credit, I’m preaching to the choir, but you do need to be careful, and be aware that identity theft is happening more and more often,” Waters said.
“It’s a good investment to have at home is a shredder, when those credit applications come in, shred them instead of throwing them away, be good stewards and shred anything that may have your personal information,” he said.
After Waters finished, door prizes were given out from the sponsor of the event, Altamaha Federal Credit Union.
 

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